Cecil McBee is a Japanese fashion designer based out of Tokyo. The designer is a top choice in the country and one of the more popular trendy clothing stores in the country, targeting a wide array of patrons, but largely focusing its attention on young women, as emphasized by its store placement in Shibuya 109.
Founded and named in 1984 Cecil McBee is the biggest and most visited of the Shibuya 109 boutiques and features a lineup each year at the Tokyo Girls Collection. The clothing presented there is marketed for the small framed sleek look of Japanese youth, but there is variation as the brand seeks to spread out into international markets.
Recently, two new labels have cropped up under the Cecil McBee name to market towards the original Cecil McBee customers who have grown older and are now looking for a more sophisticated look. Both Fabulous and Cecil Line include clothing for the “ane-kei” market of older women in their late twenties and early thirties who still want to remain stylish but don’t want to dress the same as the younger crowds.
Clothing from the lines, both announced in March of 2008, has already been featured in AneCan, the more sophisticated version of CanCam, one of Japan’s premiere fashion magazines. Fabulous will be available in summer of 2008 in Shinjuku, Ginza, and Kitasenju shops while Cecil Line will appear in the Isetan department store in Shinjuku and the Iwadaya department store in Fukuoka. Both lines can be found online as well, but will not be carried in the central Cecil McBee boutique in Shibuya 109.
Cecile McBee is also the name of an American jazz musician. The connection was discovered by McBee in the early 1990s when he was on tour in Japan. He made a stop in Tokyo where a friend took him to a shopping mall to show him the name of the fashion boutique bearing his own name, selling clothing to teens.
As a result, Cecil McBee has taken the company to court in both Japan and the United States, hoping to reclaim his name from the company and have it removed from teen clothing and accessories. Cecil McBee the jazz musician is currently 74 years old and has appeared with Benny Goodman and Miles Davis on stage as a bass player.
The company that owns Cecil McBee, Delica Co. chose the name for its new fashion boutique in 1984 shortly after McBee’s first trip to Japan, a coincidence Cecil McBee has argued repeatedly in court. While at first, McBee could not get the courts in the US involved, he was able to do so when people started to order products from Japan for delivery in the US, causing a temporary injunction against the use of the name. As of 2008, the dispute has still not been resolved.